Social media: selfies, vacation pics, memes-and ads promoting your favorite local café? Yep, 2016 is officially the year that brands are taking over the newsfeed.
Social media marketing generated $16B in revenue last year, and marketers are making it a bigger priority in 2016. 70% of advertisers anticipate spending more this year than last, and total spend is expected to exceed $35B by the end of next year. Even small businesses are getting in on the game: a recent Constant Contact survey reported that 66% of small business owners use social media to acquire and engage customers.
With so many prospective advertisers ready and willing to spend marketing dollars in social media, the platforms are taking notice. Throughout 2016, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube have made it easier than ever for brand managers to play the role of Chief Content Officer, allowing greater access to and connectivity with current and prospective fans. Through enhanced analytics capabilities, lower costs-to-entry and simplified dashboards that make targeting users and boosting posts easier on less-savvy community managers, brands now have a bigger voice in the top social channels.
The upside: as marketers become savvier, using technology to connect with customers, they open the door for new low-cost/high-engagement avenues of communication, driving customers to interact with more branded content across all channels. The downside: the newsfeed becomes noisier and more crowded every day, and every marketer will need to work harder and smarter to stay relevant, stand out and drive engagement.
To make sure you're on top of the latest trends, check out the new offerings from the industry's biggest social media players:
- Twitter introduces a new dashboard designed to make it easier to amplify posts and track chatter. http://mashable.com/2016/06/28/twitter-dashboard-small-business/#QI.VZZalpGqW
- Once too expensive for all but the biggest brands, Instagram has changed the rules to give marketers more access to consumers without a big investment. http://www.fastcompany.com/3061429/the-long-and-meandering-evolution-of-businesses-on-instagram
- YouTube looks to turn any marketer into a cinematographer, developing new video content that connects with younger demographics of consumers. http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/youtube-introducing-new-ways-help-small-businesses-make-better-video-ads-171999
- Facebook is changing the game-again. Facebook Live gives advertisers access to billions of viewers in real time. For free. http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/rich-sutton-trusted-media-brands-guest-post-facebook-live/643897